- The Genetics Society of Japan
- Genes & Genetic Systems (ISSN:13417568)
- vol.92, no.4, pp.197-203, 2017-08-01 (Released:2018-02-10)
The brown hagfish (Eptatretus atami) is one of several known hagfish species occurring in Japanese coastal waters. To date, there has been no research studying genetic polymorphisms in the species. In the present study, we analyzed differences in nucleotide sequences between two populations: one from Suruga Bay on the Pacific coast of Honshu, Japan, and the other from the Sea of Japan, off Akita on the northwest coast of Honshu. We sequenced part of the cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 gene (COX1) from the mitochondrial genome, and three G protein-coupled receptor genes from the nuclear genome. Phylogenetic networks of all four genes showed divergence between the two populations. Further, comparison of the COX1 data using a phylogenetic tree for a range of hagfish species indicated clear differences between the populations, suggesting that they differ at the species level. The numbers of their teeth, in particular of fused cusps (anterior/posterior multicusps), also supported these findings. Individuals of the Suruga Bay population had 3/3 fused cusps, as described for E. atami, whereas individuals of the Akita population had 3/2 fused cusps. These results suggest that the brown hagfish from the Sea of Japan, off the northwest coast of Honshu, is a distinct species from E. atami.